How to Add Freckles to Your Subject Using Photoshop

Freckles are pretty awesome, and while there are lots of tutorials out there on how to enhance them, this helpful video will show you how to add them to a subject who didn't already have them. The process is super easy, and once you've created the presets, it'll be even quicker the next time.

Coming to you from Aaron Nace of Phlearn, this fun tutorial will show you a quick and easy way to give your subject freckles using Photoshop. Besides its efficiency, the beauty of the method is that it really ensures the natural look as you're not adding the freckles by painting anything on. Rather, the technique relies on using Curves adjustments on the skin to mimic the darkness of freckles, then custom brushes to mask the adjustments in in a way that mimics the pseudo-random scattering of freckles. As Nace teaches, the trick lies in increasing the randomness of several parameters of the brushes to avoid the effect looking like a repeating pattern. The best part is that once you've created your own set of brushes, you'll have them for any subject you'd like to add freckles to in the future, make the entire process much quicker and easier. 

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9 Comments

Timothy Turner's picture

Gone are the days of skill, talent, and craftsmanship. Someone who does not know one end of a camera from another can now look like a master with a few clicks, thanks to Photoshop.

Alex Cooke's picture

No offense, but please tell me how a master of skill, talent, and craftsmanship would add freckles to a person who doesn’t have them without the help of a makeup artist or a computer. Mastering Photoshop is indeed a crucial part of the modern photographer, and while it’s just as important to be equally talented behind the camera, I think it’s unfair to disqualify those who work with a computer.

Anonymous's picture

There's actually quite a bit of skill, talent, and craftsmanship that goes into using Photoshop. If you don't believe me, just look at the work of an amateur re-toucher vs. a professional re-toucher. It just happens to be a different type of skill and talent than in decades past. However, even the most skilled re-toucher would tell you that it's still important, even in this day and age, to have good source material. Unless you want to get into the realm of digital artistry where you're just fabricating images out of nothing (something that is really, really, really hard), the old adage of "garbage in, garbage out" still very much applies.

As far as being a purist, there really wasn't ever a point where it was only about how well you shot in the field. Being a complete photographer has always been a multi-faceted thing. Right now, it's about Lightroom and Photoshop (or whatever equivalent software you use). In the past, it was about your proficiency in the wet darkroom. Granted, the tools we have today are far more powerful than anything that could be done in a wet darkroom.

I think we both need to update our portfolio here, on Fstoppers, as they are not representative of our current style, skill, talent, and craftsmanship.

Anonymous's picture

Very nicely done!

That's quite rich coming from someone with a portfolio that shows neither skill, talent or craftsmanship both behind the camera and in Photoshop.

Timothy Turner's picture

Ok, that was a bit harsh. I understand retouching to a point of enhancing contrast or brightness, I do the same myself. Or correcting color balance because you used the wrong white light balance setting, guilty once again. What I see as a problem is over working an image to the point of being unnatural or unrecognizable. I will admit, I am a purist at heart.

Anonymous's picture

These are two basic philosophies. Choosing to present a person or scene as-is but to its best advantage, as you describe, or wanting to create an image from your imagination, for whatever reason, are both valid and have their place in photography and in the larger world of art. Like you, I generally favor realism but occasionally give my imagination free rein. It's not always pretty! :-)